NEW research shows that the popular saying 'laughter is the best medicine' rings true for Australian seniors.
NEW research shows that the popular saying 'laughter is the best medicine' rings true for Australian seniors. Thinkstock

Laughter the best medicine for seniors: new study

PEOPLE say that laughter can be the best medicine.

But new research has shown that the popular saying has hit the nail on the head for Australian seniors.

A La Trobe University study published in 'The Australasian Journal of Ageing' has found that regular laughter could be the secret to a healthier life for older people.

Nearly 30 aged care residents in Melbourne, aged between 61 and 96 with almost half suffering from dementia, took part in six weekly Laughter Yoga sessions which involved laughter exercises, deep breathing, chanting and clapping.

Researchers from the university then measured the subjects' positive and negative mood and level of happiness, while keeping an eye on their blood pressure.

And what the researchers found will surely bring a smile to your face.

"The study found Laughter Yoga resulted in measureable improvements in health and emotional wellbeing for older people living in residential aged care homes," lead researcher Julie Ellis said.

"Laughter is contagious. If one person in the group laughed, others soon followed," added fellow researcher and trained Laughter Yoga instructor Mos Ben-Moshe added.

"Even in residents with dementia, increased laughter and social engagement was observed.

"Participants told us Laughter Yoga made them feel good, relaxed and connected with others in the group.

"Only one person dropped out and most of those who completed the program said they would do it again."

Ms Ellis said the results showed there "was good reason to run regular sessions in aged care facilities".


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